Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Get your Family Tree printed by the Nenagh Guardian

Lat week, myself and Michael Gleeson paid a visit to the offices of the Nenagh Guardian, who are also the local printers.  They have done an excellent job printing the Programme for the Gleeson Clan Gathering and we are sure you will be impressed.

Michael with the Programme
And for a mere 16 euro they will print an A1 poster of your Family Tree which you can collect from their offices before the Gathering (saves you the hassle of having to cart it around with you). You can also do an A0 size poster for 25 euro.
A0 = 84.1 x 118.9cm, 33.11 x 46.81 inches
A1 = 59.4 x 84.1cm, 23.39 x 33.11 inches
Just contact Paddy Brennan ( or Michael Hegarty ( and they will sort you out.

Leafing through the first edition, 1838
The Guardian is the longest established and best known local newspaper circulating in North Tipperary. It was first established on Saturday July 21 1838 and has reported local, national and international news for the past 178 years. The Guardian is the local paper for the Nenagh area and remains widely read in Roscrea, Portumna, Newport, Borrisokane, Birr, Ballina/Killaloe, Borrisoleigh, Thurles, and Templemore, offering an unrivalled source of local news, sport, entertainment and advertorial services to generations of people in the North Tipp area.

David Ryan & the 1839 archive
Like our ancestors, the Guardian lived through the Great Famine, the mass emigration that followed, the tumultuous times of one hundred years ago, and the emergence of the new Irish state. In 1928 it incorporated the Nenagh News and Tipperary Vindicator newspapers and remains one of the oldest newspapers in circulation in Ireland. It is a great source for genealogical research and really puts the flesh on the bones of your family tree. It certainly has done on mine - I have spent many hours pouring over the newspaper looking for ancestors (and getting distracted by the wonderful ads and news items along the way). It is also a great way of getting a feel for the mood of the country and of the people from the mid-1800s up to the present day. The complete archives are available on and and for a small fee you can search for the Gleeson surname (or any other family surname) among its pages.

A Descendancy Chart
There are several free templates you can use if you want to create a nice family tree chart. These charts will go up on the wall of the Scouts' Hall on the Friday afternoon so that people can browse and peruse them on the Friday & Saturday during the lunch and coffee breaks. We may also incorporate a selection of the family tree charts in the Proceedings Book we plan to publish after the event.

As we are most interested in trying to push your Gleeson ancestral line back further than you currently have it, the best chart to bring to the Gathering is a Descendant Chart. This gives details of your Most Distant Known Gleeson Ancestor and all his known descendants for 3 or 4 generations. The charts will be a great focus for conversation and hopefully someone else will recognise their own ancestors (or ancestral locations) among the list and you will be able to make connections with distant cousins you never knew you had. Be sure to include the townland where your ancestors were born as this is very useful information. And leave your contact details (email or phone number) on the chart so prospective cousins can get in touch with you.

Michael Hegarty at the printer
Below are some helpful websites and a selection of some Descendant Chart templates but feel free to generate your own from your genealogy software programme or simply print out a Descendant Report (but excluding living people in order to resect privacy). Once you have designed your chart, contact Paddy or Michael at the Guardian and they will help you with the printing. Usually all you need to do is send them a pdf version of the Chart but you can always send them an email and just ask, or phone them on +353 67 50480 or +353 67 50487 (,

You can also create your own charts here - ... or you can download free family tree building software and create your own charts from that (

Looking forward to seeing the fruits of your productivity!

Maurice Gleeson
July 2016

The first two years

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Please Pay-in-Advance if you can

Only 4 weeks to go before the Gleeson Clan Gathering and preparations are well in hand. The Organising Committee met last night to review the current status and we are happy to report that the Gathering is shaping up very nicely indeed.

Our finances are looking very healthy and pre-payment of tickets is helping our cash-flow a lot. So we would encourage everyone to book their tickets in advance for the lectures on Friday (10 euro) & Saturday (15 euro). Simply email and we will send you an invoice that can easily be paid by PayPal whether you are signed up for it or not.

We tweaked the programme to include a venue for the social gathering on the Wednesday evening (it will be held at Paddy Rohan's pub) and the tea dance on Sunday is from 9pm (not 7pm) till midnight in the Scouts' Hall (some people will be meeting in the back yard of Una Powell's traditional pub from 8pm). Also, the map for the various venues for the Gathering has been updated and can be found here. There is also a new link to this map from the menu list on the right.

Our Chairman, Michael Gleeson, bravely leading the way into Una Powell's pub

Accommodation in the Nenagh area is now very hard to come by due to the popularity of the Gathering (and a few competing events). But there are two 5-bedroom houses being held by the Abbey Court Hotel for anyone with a large party - perhaps several people might want to group together to rent one jointly ... if so, leave a comment below. Phone +353 (0)67 41111 or email

There are also 3 rooms still left at Shannon Breeze Bed & Breakfast in Killaloe/Ballina which is only about 30 minutes away. Email Noel or Phyll on or call +353 87 280 7655. There is also a lady renting 1-2 rooms in Nenagh town centre - email her at 

As well as the Conference Bag and Programme, which people can keep as nice mementoes of the event, we also plan to produce a Proceedings Book and a Photo Album. We will have a photographer (Donal Quinn) taking photos of the lectures and the various trips and tours, as well as any paraphernalia of Gleeson interest that people bring in to the event itself. The Proceedings book will contain summaries of each of the lectures and will be illustrated with pictures, graphs, and charts. 

Both of these books will be self-print books so you will be able to easily order your own copy online. As this is a not-for-profit venture, these books will be inexpensive and the price will be determined by the cost of printing. That's the plan anyway.

So if you haven't booked your ticket already, do it now and send us an email to pay for it in advance.

See you at the Gathering!

Maurice Gleeson
20 July 2016

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Justice for Harry Gleeson at last

We are proud to announce a late edition to the Saturday Lecture Programme - Sean Delaney & Kevin Gleeson from the JFHGG will be presenting on their campaign to clear the name of Harry Gleeson.

This is a free public lecture, hosted by the Silvermines Historical Society in conjunction with the Gleeson Clan Gathering, and will be followed by a book-signing event with Kieran Fagan, author of The Framing of Harry Gleeson. The event will be followed by an informal social evening where members of the Gleeson Clan Gathering can mingle with local people and share stories.

Justice for Harry Gleeson at last
Sean Delaney & Kevin Gleeson
Saturday 20th August, 8pm 
Scouts' Hall, Nenagh

Harry Gleeson was the first man to get a posthumous pardon in Ireland. He was hanged in 1941 for the murder of his neighbour Mary McCarthy. At the time, he was managing the farm of his uncle (John Caesar). The murdered woman, known locally as Moll Carthy, was infamous in south Tipperary. She and her six children (by different fathers) lived in a rundown cottage at Marlhill, near New Inn, and she got her water supply from a pump on her neighbour John Caesar’s farm. When Harry found her body lying in a field on a wintry November morning in 1940, the police charged him with her murder.

"Seán MacBride was junior counsel to James Nolan-Whelan in defending Harry Gleeson, and later claimed his opposition to the death penalty was prompted by his certainty that Gleeson was innocent. The Farcical Trial of Harry Gleeson, privately published by Gleeson's friend Bill O'Connor in the 1980s, maintained that Gleeson was framed. The book spurred historian and lawyer Marcus Bourke to write Murder at Marlhill, published in 1993, which offered evidence of Gleeson's innocence. Cathal O'Shannon presented a documentary on RTÉ in 1995 based on Bourke's book. The Justice for Harry Gleeson Group was established locally to gather evidence and campaign, and it later contacted the Irish Innocence Project, the Innocence Network's Irish affiliate at Griffith College Dublin. In 2013 the Irish Innocence Project sent its file to the Department of Justice and Equality. Minister Alan Shatter sent it to Máire Whelan, the Attorney General, who got senior counsel Shane Murphy to review it. Deficiencies in the case were noted:
  • medical evidence suggested the death was probably on 21 November, when Gleeson had an alibi, whereas the prosecution exaggerated the likelihood that it was on 20 November
  • failure to call John Ceasar or his wife Brigid as witnesses
  • the Garda stage-managed a confrontation between Gleeson and two of the McCarthy children to reflect badly on him
  • failure to introduce the local shotgun register in evidence

Murphy reported that the conviction was based on "unconvincing circumstantial evidence" and recommended a pardon. On 1 April 2015, Shatter's successor as minister, Frances Fitzgerald, announced that the government would direct the President of Ireland to exercise his right to pardon under Article 13.6 of the Constitution of Ireland. President Michael D. Higgins formally signed the pardon order on 19 December 2015. This was presented to Gleeson's family at a ceremony on 13 January 2016."
from Wikipedia

Sean Delaney, founder & Leader of the J.F.H.G.G

In 2012 Sean, a retired official with South Eastern Cattle Breeding Society decided he would do “something” to clear the name of Harry Gleeson. Sean’s mother, Norah Gleeson was Harry’s cousin and it was from her that Sean first heard the tragic story of Harry Gleeson as a young boy. As no concerted effort was ever made to do this Sean founded the J.F.H.G.G who’s names are as follows, Tom Gleeson (Harry’s nephew) and Kevin Gleeson (grand-nephew), Pat Fitzgerald who’s wife bears the Caesar name, Jack Caesar (grand-nephew of John Caesar Harry’s Uncle), Emma Timoney (grand-daughter of J.J. Timoney, Harry’s solicitor), Timmy and Ollie Delaney brothers of Sean and Sean’s wife Mary. The group relentlessly pursued its aim as expressed in its mission statement which in turn has it’s origins in Harry’s now famous last request to Sean MacBride his counsel only hours before his hanging – “I rely on you then to clear my name”. 

The discovery of the Irish Innocence Project by Mary Delaney was crucial and following a lengthy telephone conversation between Sean and David Langwallner of the Irish Innocence Project, Mr. Langwallner agreed to meet the group. The IIP thereafter were the legal representatives of the Group.

Sean says “I believe the fate that befell Harry Gleeson is arguably the greatest miscarriage of justice ever presided over by the Free State and how unfortunate that those who’s role it is to ensure a fair trial for all citizens conspired to deny that right to Harry. Evil prospered as the good remained silent and even the very pillars of the community lost their voice”. 

Kevin Gleeson, grand-nephew of Harry Gleeson and member of the J.F.H.G.G

Kevin Gleeson, a secondary school teacher who amazingly was born and raised in the very house and farm at Galbertstown, Holycross as was Harry. The Gleeson family still continue to reside and farm this land. 

Kevin’s first memories of Harry’s sad story date back to when he was 11 or 12 years of age. Although Kevin clearly remembers the story he also recalls that it was seldom spoken of such was the hurt, burden and tragedy of it all. When Kevin became aware of the formation of the JFHGG he was an immediate volunteer.

Kevin says “I always longed for the day when somebody somewhere might meaningfully take up the case for justice for Harry Gleeson. When my father Tom Gleeson (Harry’s nephew) informed me what Sean Delaney was doing my immediate reaction just like Dad was to put my shoulder to the wheel.”

This talk will be followed by a book-signing by Kieran Fagan, author of The Framing of Harry Gleeson. This is a compelling account of how and why he was framed and who the guilty parties were.

"Where do the ideas for books come from? This one started in Dún Laoghaire on a summer afternoon in 2009. I was early for an X-ray in St Michael’s hospital, and I was killing time in a second-hand bookshop. Some words on the back of a slim paperback caught my eye.

“I rely on you then to clear my name. I have no confession to make only that I didn’t do it. That is all. I will pray for you and be with if I can whenever you [his defence lawyers] are fighting and battling for justice.”

The speaker was Harry Gleeson, talking to his counsel Seán MacBride on Tuesday, April 22nd, 1941, the day before he was hanged for the murder of his neighbour Moll Carthy.


Fairly soon I knew who had murdered Moll. And I had a good idea why. But how they got away with it, that was the mystery. That goes back to the state of the nation barely 20 years after independence: untrained and poorly-led gardaí; the presence of respected former IRA members in every community – people who could and would take the law into their own hands when the official channels failed to work, as they clearly had when Moll was allowed to practice the oldest profession with impunity."
Kieran Fagan, Irish Times, Tuesday April 21st, 2015

Monday, 4 July 2016

To our American Family - Happy 4th of July!!

There are over 38,000 Gleason's in the United States of America ... 

And over 4000 Gleeson's, 
6000 Glisson's, 
1000 Glasson's, 
700 Glasheen's ...

So Happy 4th of July to all American Gleeson's everywhere ... no matter how you spell it!

Distribution of Gleason families in North America (
Highest concentrations in Massachusetts, Maine & Nebraska

Distribution of Gleeson families in North America (
Highest concentrations in Ontario & Northwest Territories 

Maurice Gleeson
4th July 2016

FamilySearch Worldwide Indexing Event 2016

FamilySearch are holding their annual Worldwide Indexing Event from July 15 to July 17 and are looking for volunteers who will help them read records, transcribe them, and index them.

FamilySearch has the largest collection of genealogical records worldwide which it has amassed over many years. Most famously for Irish researchers, the Civil Registration Certificates (that they microfilmed in 1957-1958) are freely available at your local LDS Family History Centre and I have personally found them of immense help in my own family tree research.

Furthermore, they are free! And this saves you 4 euro per cert that you would have to pay if you ordered them via the General Registry Office in Ireland, a cost that would certainly mount up if you were to order a birth, marriage & death certificate for every single person in your tree!

FamilySearch collect records from all over the world and only a small proportion of their total records have been indexed so far. Last year they indexed 53 million records. This year they are hoping for something similar. And volunteers can help make these free records available to the rest of the world.

It is very simple to join in this event and instructions are available on their website.

Here is what they say about the event:

Whether you’ve indexed before or are new to indexing, you’re invited to participate in the annual Worldwide Indexing Event July 15–17, sponsored by 
Indexing is the process of entering information from the world’s digitally scanned historical documents into a database, making it easily searchable online. People around the world can then search these indexed records to find their ancestors. Anyone with a computer and Internet connection can index records to perform meaningful service related to family history. (Learn how easy indexing is.) 
The goal for this year’s event is to have at least 72,000 volunteers index as many records as possible in a 72-hour period, July 15 to 17. 
FamilySearch Indexing is a great activity to introduce people to family history and help them become familiar with records people use to identify their ancestors. FamilySearch is especially interested in the participation of those with non-English language skills, since there is a huge opportunity to make more records available on for non-English speaking countries. 
“This is a wonderful opportunity to serve people worldwide who visit to find their ancestors,” said Jim Ericson, product manager at FamilySearch. “Indexing is a fun and engaging way to provide meaningful service and get involved in family history. Ultimately, those who index records enable joyful discoveries that strengthen family bonds around the world.” 
Go here to learn more, tell us if you are in, share it with your friends, and follow the progress.

So if you have some spare time on your hands during July 15-17, sign up to volunteer and help make records available for others to search. 

You may even be helping yourself find that elusive ancestor?!

Maurice Gleeson 
July 2016